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Jul 10, 2018

The Benefits of Alone Time

Written by Dr. Caroline Leaf

In a world that is fast-paced, demanding, and stressful, in a society that demands quick fixes and easy solutions, it is difficult to take the time to just think

I mean, what is the point of just thinking? Well, learning to be alone with our thoughts is actually quite important, especially when it comes to our mental and physical wellbeing! Adopting a thinker mindset is actually an important key for achieving meaningful success in school, work, and life! 

We need downtime to function optimally. We need downtime for our brain to function optimally! To cope with the demands of life, our minds and brains need to internally “reboot,” which can only happen when we are alone with our thoughts, in these “thinker” moments which I also discuss in my new book, Think, Learn, Succeed. We literally need to switch off all external stimuli, giving our thoughts some quality “me time,” or your mind and brain will just not function at the level needed for success!

Contrary to popular belief, the mind does not grind to a halt when you are doing nothing. Spontaneous thought processes, including mind-wandering, creative thinking, and daydreaming, arise when thoughts are relatively free from focused thinking and external influences. When we take time to switch off to what’s going on around us and just think, we improve our ability to focus, which in turn increases creativity. When you get into these daydream modes, memory improves dramatically and it’s easier to learn new information and you increase your intelligence as a bonus!Without this natural thinking mode, we wouldn’t be able to reach those insights and inspirational highs that change our world. Like Isaac Newton, we should all spend more time sitting under trees and just thinking!

What are some ways you can learn to incorporate “thinker” moments into your life?

  • Are cellphones and other devices stealing your “thinker” moments? Observe yourself for a several days, making note of how much you use technology. The average person spends up to eight hours a day using technology. Some of the worst effects of electronic devices seem to be mitigated when devices are used less than two hours a day. Find ways to limit your use of technology throughout the day.
  • Thinker moments aren’t an odd quirk of the mind, but are natural and spontaneous. Allocate time, at least sixteen minutes a day (which can be spread across the day), to just think and allow your mind to wander.
  • Thinker moments teach you how to live the examined life. When your mind wanders, think about what you are thinking about and your own experiences, perhaps writing about your thoughts in a journal or on a notepad.

Thinker moments are actually preventative against dementias because they enhance brain health! When you don’t feel like being a “thinker,” remember that these moments increase your brain health and your intelligence!

For more information on the health benefits of learning to be alone with your thoughts, and mindsets that lead to success, pre-order my new book, Think, Learn, Succeed!

 

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